Where Are You Going by Dave Matthews is one of my favorite songs — and for some time now, it’s been the $64,000 question, so to speak. After Hurricane Katrina, my parents and I decided that New Orleans was no longer a good place to be and that we would relocate as soon as we were free to do it (translation: after my grandparents died). We debated a lot about where we would go. I wanted to return to my adopted home of Raleigh, North Carolina; I’d only been gone a few years at that point and still had friends and contacts there. My Dad wanted someplace farther south, closer to the family, and suggested Huntsville. In the end, Nashville was the middle ground, the compromise we all liked: big enough to find work, close enough to my beloved North Carolina mountains to make me happy, close enough to family to make us all feel secure. The decision was made — we just had to wait.

Then the drama started. A few members of Dad’s family live near Nashville and have been embroiled in some serious conflict. (There have recently been court proceedings. It’s not pretty.) Suddenly, Nashville seemed much too close to the craziness. We reopened the great relocation debate last summer and took Nashville off the table.

A couple of months later, my cousin Kristi had news: she had a job interview with a college in Asheville, NC. We had been discussing North Carolina since I’d gotten a lot of work last summer from my contacts there. It seemed like fate, the obvious answer: we’d go to Asheville. But the Universe was playing tricks with us and the job lead turned into a red herring: Kristi was their second choice, and the relocation debate was once again wide open.

Just contemplating the question seemed overwhelming to me. Even limiting our choices to three states (Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina), with the additional restriction that it had to be no more than 8 hours from Dad’s family in Meridian, didn’t help. There were too many possibilities and the decision was too big. What if we didn’t like the place? What if we chose wrong?

I brought up the question with Dad at lunch today — told him the little bit of research I’d done, the few cities I’d marked for study — and I asked for his thoughts. And in a wonderful bit of fatherly wisdom and insight, he said “Why don’t we think about Nashville again?”

Okay, maybe he didn’t say it quite like that. But something in our conversation led us to that question, and he said that we can’t let the family drama keep us from our best choice. And suddenly, it all seemed so simple and obvious. We know we like Nashville. We have good family in Nashville. We can find work in Nashville. And it’s closer to Meridian than anything else I was considering.

So. I think — I hope — that the question may finally be answered.

I think we’re going to Nashville.

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